Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Case of the Missing Sausage

This story begins with sausage.  This sausage to be specific:

My favorite breakfast is definitely biscuits and gravy.  I blame the year that our family lived in Georgia for this preference and it might just be my glorified memory, but I think it tasted better in the south.  I guess I was only eight, but I like to think I've always had a mature palate. I also gained a love for grits (delicious buttery grits...mmm...), but this story isn't about grits, it's about sausage.

As often happens, about a month ago I was craving biscuits and gravy so naturally, I picked up some sausage during my weekly shopping trip. I had grand plans for this sausage.  With one pound of sausage I can make biscuits and gravy, top a pizza (along with pepperoni of course), and have enough to throw together breakfast burritos.  My happy little pound of sausage with great potential sat in my cart, had a nice ride in the car and made it to my kitchen.  But there's another important character in this story:

I have the cutest shopping partner in the world! He and I go grocery shopping together each week while the girls are at school.  And you know what?  He is so sweet when it's just him! The boy who is often horribly moody and fights with his sister to no end turns into a perfect angel that wants to hug me and say, "I love you mom" sporadically throughout our shopping trips. 

Anyway, the story continues with me putting the groceries away.  This boy loves to "help" get things out of the bags and I turned from putting something in the cupboard to see him running circles around our island, giggling, with the sausage in his hands. Who knew sausage could cause such joy?  I turned my focus back to putting the groceries away because it's one of my least favorite tasks and I wanted to get it done.  With all the food put away I felt accomplished and happy inside.  Done!

Fast forward about a week at dinner time.  Where is the dang sausage?  I remember taking it from my shopping buddy and putting it in the fridge but it's not there. Maybe I put it in the freezer? Nope. Wait. Maybe I made up the putting it in the fridge memory? I do that...I make up memories all the time. Grumpy about no biscuits and gravy, I made some other lame dinner and reported to my husband that there could be a pound of sausage anywhere in the house.  Turns out when you ask a three year old where he put the sausage he looks and you blankly and says, "what sausage mean?". Follow-up question: "that tube of meat you were running around with, where is it?"  Three-year-old response, "MEAT!!!! I no know."

Fast forward about a month from sausage purchase. Boy did we look for that sausage.  I searched all the typical hiding places and more.  I cleaned and decluttered our house in preparation for our daughter's surgery.  I concluded that I had made up the entire sausage purchase, or it got thrown away. Then I was putting away my shopping buddy's clothes and found a can of tuna in his drawer. Weird. I had forgotten about the sausage, but finding that tuna made me remember. Then, that very day as I was walking in from getting the mail my 5 year old girl ran out squealing with a very bloated package of sausage. "Look what I found in one of our toy cubbies!" Now let me take a second to describe this sausage tube that sat at room temperature for a month. Turns out when left to do its thing at room temperature, sausage expands and this package had expanded so much that it had impressive stretch marks. It was so tight that a light puncture or squeeze would have caused an explosion. I couldn't help but picture a sausage explosion in the kids' bedroom...shudder. I wish I would have taken a picture but instead I did an involuntary gasp and tenderly ran it to garbage can. Needless to say, I had a conversation with our three year old about not storing food in our bedrooms. Case of the missing sausage closed.

Enter plot twist!  Later that evening I was retelling the story to my attractive husband when a sheepish five year old approached me and said, "I put that sausage in the toy cubby."

The guilty party?? I did not see that coming.

I was thoroughly surprised and asked her why in the world she would do that. Turns out she was wanting a turn with the sausage but while being chased by her brother, put it in a hiding place so he couldn't get it.  Kids.  

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Everything I hate about living in Minnesota*

*I hope this goes without saying, but just in case: the following is meant to be hyperbolic. Do not be alarmed; there are things I like about Minnesota.

Minnesota is different. I know it's still the United States, but golly, I feel like such a foreigner, an outsider, an alien. I've been reflecting about why that is the case. What is so different and why don't I like it? Well, here's your chance to find out. In no particular order:

#1 - Humidity. Gross!

I'm sorry but if my glasses fog up when I get outside from being in my office or when I get out of my car, that's too humid. If my skin gets sticky from being out in AIR, that's too humid. If I feel like I can't breathe...that's too humid. Natalie knows what I'm talking about! When we made a stop in Iowa on our way here and got out of the car and started gasping for breath and looked at each other like, "what is going on?" or rolled down the window to take a picture of the beautiful country side only to start gasping and quickly put the window back up so we could breathe again...that's too humid. If my cereal or my BBQ Pringles, or my Chicken in a Biskit crackers go stale in less than two weeks, that's too humid. If my gum and cough drops start to condensate and melt (indoors!) and create a gooey, sticky mess in my purse, that's too humid. If paper has a soft, soggy quality to it instead of its usual dry, guessed it! That's too humid.

#2 - Bugs. Creepy, crawly, icky, sticky, all up in my space and 'bidness' bugs.

I'll spare you the visual here. I took a picture with the intent to share it with you (for the shock and awe of it) when, my first Sunday here, there was a centipede in my shower. But soon thereafter I deleted it because I was tired of seeing it on my phone. And oh yeah, that happened two Sundays in a row. Centipedes in the shower. And I thought spiders were creepy. So I've gone through quite a bit of pesticide...but there seems to be certain bugs that don't mind the pesticide and will show up regardless of what I do. Like the worm-like insects I've been seeing all over the place (in the basement - i.e., my living space) for several weeks. Ew! I try to get rid of them, but they keep showing up. I've even started to leave them, rather than kill them or pick up dead ones. Needless to say, I wear shoes or slippers or slides (sandals) indoors at all times.

#3 - Roads and city driving. 

I was pretty much destined to detest the roads and driving here because of my experience coming for my interview in January. But sure enough, destiny has played itself out. For one thing, the on-ramps to the major highways often consist of a complete circle and a blind entrance to a ridiculously short stretch of a lane that almost immediately merges into the highway traffic. I sure miss those many on-ramps in Utah that turn into their own lanes for a substantial stretch giving you ample time to get over to the next lane before it disappears. Oh and often, even on major roads, when you're trying to turn left, there is no left-turn lane so traffic basically completely stops behind you while you wait for an opportunity to turn left. I tell you what, not much increases my anxiety more than the feeling of all eyes being on me and people behind me almost surely thinking or saying, "That was your chance, what's WRONG with you?" And have I mentioned I'm not a fan of one-way streets? The institute building (where I attend church) is located on a one-way street. So I get to drive on a one-way street at least once a week. Lovely. Also, the roads already feel extremely tight to me, so when I'm told, "Just wait until we get the first major snow of the year, then for the entire winter, there will be huge berms on both sides of the road," I'm not feeling super excited inside. I mean seriously, driving in a Minnesota winter? I'm thinking about petitioning for adoption of an initiative permitting state-wide hibernation during the winter just so I don't have to drive. Seems reasonable.

#4 - Companies in Minnesota mislabel things. Take a look and see for yourself!

What the heck is Hellman's and what happened to Best Foods?

"Brownberry?" Um, isn't that an "O" around that picture of grain at the top? O for Oroweat. 

How embarrassing. Look how badly they misspelled Dryer's! Missing a couple of letters there, aren't you, Edy?

Careful, keep putting that sign on Carl's Jr. restaurants and people may begin to think it's a different place!

#5 - Bias against people who spend a lot of their spare time indoors and tend not to have "exciting weekend plans."

Okay, I'd like to consider myself an outdoorsy person who enjoys nature and being in the great outdoors. And I still think I am that kind of person to an extent. I like mild hikes, and love waterfalls and coasts and sunsets. I mean, we all remember my recent experience of finding my soul in Seaside, right? The whole falling in love with cold beaches thing, and feeling pretty sure that I need to move to the Pacific Northwest because of it. I still dream of going to see a lighthouse. Point is, I'm not a complete agoraphobic recluse, so stop judging me if I spent my weekend inside alone, in sweats, watching Netflix! We can't all be environmental enthusiasts who bike everywhere and eat fancy organic, vegan food, and do yoga and canoe and fish and go on runs everyday. And remember when I said I moved here from across the country not knowing a single person in Minnesota? Stop being so surprised that I don't have an active, thriving social life overnight, people. (muttered to self under breath - I've never had a very active social life, but that's not the point).  

#6 - Minnesotan's complete ignorance about living in the giant hat state.

I mean, come on! It's so obvious that Minnesota is the hat, do I really need to spell it out? Because I will! Iowa is the face, Missouri the shirt, Arkansas the pants and Louisiana is the boot, making Minnesota...the giant hat, hello! So quit giving me all the blank stares and looks of confusion. I'm not crazy. It's right there on the map! (And apparently I'm not the only one that thinks so).

#7 Zero family (hands down the thing I hate most about living in Minnesota).

No immediate family within a (nearly) 1,000-1,700 mile radius. Lame. Seriously rude. That means no siblings, no parents, no nieces, no nephews. Now that is just wrong. Not to mention no Sunday night dinner with family (insert pout here). I know I had been spoiled living in Utah for the last several years and was able to visit family quite regularly in Oregon and Colorado during that time, but did I really have to go from that to alone in Minnesota? It feels like I had to quit cold turkey. I know I had a slight problem, but this seems like an extreme intervention.

So there you have it. The many things I hate about living in Minnesota. I'm surprised I've made it as long as I have when this is what I'm facing. Two months down, approximately 10 more to go. Heaven help me. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A poop-in-the-backseat kind of day

Hello family!  This is my first blog post ever… pretty crazy.  We’ll see how this goes!

I was talking with Mom this weekend about what kinds of things we could write about on our brand new blog.  I thought to myself, “What would the other four women from the juice aisle like to read about?”  We both decided it would be fun to share some of our funny/crazy life experiences here.  And then I had an idea of the perfect story to share as my first venture into the blogging world… the time Bennett pooped in the back seat!  Guaranteed to put a smile on your face.  Or in the very least make you grateful you didn’t have to deal with a 5-month old puppy on this particular morning. J  And maybe this story will inspire someone else (cough *mom* cough) to share a similarly comical experience from the recent past. 

It all started on a Thursday morning.  There was a spider in the shower.  And while it might seem like that has nothing to do with this story, I’m thinking it was a bad omen.  It was the universe trying to tell me to go back to bed because nothing good would come of this particular Thursday morning.  Anyways, I attempted to wash the spider down the drain and seal his fate with a lot of hot water and soap.  Unfortunately (as others have previously experienced…), this is not the best way to eliminate a spider.  However, I was still able to trap the little bugger under a cup which was later discarded.  I have some pretty creative methods of bug disposal these days.

I digress… the spider was pretty upsetting to me, but I managed to get over it.  I finished getting ready for work and piled Bennett in the car for another lovely 52-mile drive to Craig.  Now this was the third time that week that I was making the drive to Craig with Bennie, so I wasn’t actually too worried about it anymore.  He seemed to be getting over his whole car-sickness thing and I finally let myself believe that these early morning drives could actually be pleasant!

So I’m driving down highway 40, watching the sun come up in my rearview mirror (casting a lovely glow on the Yampa river), listening to my new Lady Antebellum CD, and generally enjoying life.  Then Bennett starts to cry.  And for those of you who don’t know, he has a pretty specific “I-have-to-poop” cry.  And then he starts to pace back and forth in the back seat.  At this point I was about 20 minutes away from Craig and I was thinking he could probably hold it.  In fact, I was thinking it would be good for him to hold it!  It would teach him a valuable lesson of how to hold his bowel contents until it was a good time (and place…) for him to go.  Famous last words. 

I turn around to see Bennett squatting on the seat.  NOT holding it.  I was appalled.  I pulled over, jumped out of the car, and frantically tried to get him out so he could finish his business.  Of course it was too late.  He pooped all over the back seat.  Poop.  All over the car.  I couldn’t believe it. 

Now as some of you know, I have a small OCD-type issue with keeping my car clean.  So this whole experience was probably just slightly more traumatic than it should have been.  But the moral of the story is that even though the morning was crappy (literally!), the rest of the day actually went fine.  I had a long lunch that day so I had plenty of time to go thoroughly wash the back seat (multiple times…), and I was able to learn the valuable lesson that I should probably listen to Bennett’s poop cry from now on.  And after all was said and done I actually laughed about it.   

Well my lovely family, I hope you are all having a wonderful week!  And if you happen to be having a poop-in-the-backseat kind of day, chin up.  It always gets better. J

Monday, September 15, 2014

On Chocolate Chip Cookies and Being a Grown Up

There have been many points in my life where I have come to a realization that I am officially a Grown Up, whether or not I feel like one inside. One particular such moment was the day this happened:

Me (to myself): "Man, I could go for a chocolate chip cookie right about now..."
Me (in reply to myself): "...You know, I can make those."

It was one of those grand epiphanies. If I wanted a chocolate chip cookie, all I had to do was go to the kitchen and make one (or several dozen). Ever since that day, I feel a little Grown Up thrill every time I make chocolate chip cookies--or any other baked treat--for no special reason.

It's a blessing and a curse, though. One of those, "with great power comes great responsibility" things. Inevitably, as the cookies start to pile up on the cooling rack, I start eating them. And before I know it, five or six cookies later, I have to be a Grown Up again and exercise some self control.

In case you haven't guessed, today was a chocolate chip cookie day. And it's time for the self control to kick in.

Maybe after I have just one more...

Oh Yes, I did.

It seems to me that with us all living apart from one another, now is the perfect time to take the plunge on this idea that's been brewing. Welcome to the Juice Aisle!

Go forth and post your random musings, fellow juice ladies.